After more than 3 decades as an assistant, new coach takes reins of Chartiers Valley baseball

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Sunday, January 21, 2024 | 11:01 AM


High school baseball is in Bill Priddy’s DNA.

After his own playing days at Montour, Priddy found himself quickly immersed in the adventures of coaching. Spending decades giving back to those who slide on their gloves and step up to the plate, coaching at the high school level has become his calling card.

“Nothing makes me happier,” Priddy said. “They are fun to be around. They are fun to coach. It’s fun to watch them succeed. I love being around this. For those couple hours, it takes your mind off of everything else in life.”

Thirty-four years of coaching in the wings, however, wasn’t enough for Priddy. He wants to try one more thing before it’s all said and done.

The 57-year-old will take a swing at running a high school team as the new head coach at Chartiers Valley.

“It felt to me like the time was right, being around the game since I was 23 years old, and before I decide to hang it up, I’m going to give this a shot,” Priddy said.

When the opportunity came up, it seemed too good to be true. In perfect proximity, just 10 minutes from his home in Oakdale, Priddy knew he had to chase the head coaching position, something he has never done before at the high school level.

“I’ve never pursued a head coaching job because of my kids playing,” he said. “I didn’t want to miss them playing sports.”

After several interviews and holding a workout with the team, Priddy accepted the position on Thanksgiving Eve.

He brings decades of knowledge into the program, including valuable championship experience at every stop on his path.

Most recently, Priddy played a big role in developing pitching at Montour. While there, the Spartans made an improbable run to clinch a state title in 2022 after falling in the WPIAL finals.

“Montour hadn’t won anything since 1972 and we took them to the WPIALs twice and won the state championship,” Priddy said. “That was the ultimate goal in my whole life was winning that.”

Prior to his time with his alma mater, Priddy coached for five seasons under longtime coach Bryan Cornell at West Allegheny in the early 2010s. During his time with the Indians, they captured a WPIAL title in 2014.

His first stint as a coach came with Bishop Canevin shortly after completing his playing career at CCAC. Legendary Crusaders coach Robert “Red” Locke brought Priddy onto the staff at age 23 to work as the pitching coach.

At Bishop Canevin from 1990-2000, Priddy and the Crusaders made four trips to the WPIAL finals, winning in 1993 and 2000, along with a state finals run in 1997.

Making his fourth high school stop, this time as a head coach, Priddy wants to utilize those past achievements to his advantage.

“I’ve been blessed with success wherever I’ve gone, and I want to bring that to Char Valley and let those boys experience what I’ve experienced as a coach,” he said. “I want to see what I can do as a head coach to bring this championship to CV.”

That winning approach has quickly resonated with the players at Chartiers Valley.

“From talking with Coach Priddy, he’s as hungry as we are,” senior Ethan Ridgeway said. “Nothing less than winning it all will not be accepted.”

Looking to follow up on last year’s performance — a 14-7 record and shared section 3-4A title with West Mifflin — Priddy wants success to become the norm for the Colts.

“I want them to do all the right things,” he said. “Play the game the right way. I’m going to stress what our goals are: winning championships, playoffs, sections. We aren’t here to goof around and lose. We are here to win. You win at practice and take that into the games.”

With less than two months until opening day, Priddy and his staff will be working relentlessly to prepare his team for the season.

“Our coaches’ jobs are to get these guys ready for battle and when its game day, they are the ones that have to go out and fight the battle. I want them to be ready. We have a couple months to get them ready,” Priddy said.

Not only will the Colts welcome a new coach this season, but they also will see an overhaul from last year’s roster after 14 seniors graduated.

“Graduating as many seniors as we did just means we all have to step up including the new coaching staff,” senior Nathan Magilson said. “This is going to be a fun year for all of us and we are looking to make some noise.”

Sharing a similar sentiment, Priddy is embracing the opportunity to lead a new group of Colts.

“I like that it’s a fresh start for a lot of these guys,” Priddy said. “I think they know it’s their opportunity to step up and shine. Everyone’s on an equal slate.”

In a short time, Priddy has already made an impact after starting voluntary workouts.

“Our winter workouts so far have been off to a great start,” Magilson said. “Coach Bill has a plan, and we cover everything in a short amount of time. We are always moving and getting reps.”

“We had a purpose of being there and everyone knew it. Even from the first workout, I could tell each coach he brought in has a job to do,” Ridgeway added.

With Priddy entering his first head coaching job, there is a new sense of excitement and some welcome pressure, but he ultimately wants his players to enjoy the game of baseball just as much as he has.

“I want them to have a positive, successful experience,” he said. “This is a small part of their life and it goes super fast. I want to teach them when things aren’t right. If they make a mistake, show them what they did or ask them what they did.”

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